SP Angel – Morning View – Wednesday 31 10 18
Base metals dip on weakening China manufacturing
Cradle Arc* (LON:CRA) – Placing
Crusader (LON:CAS) – Stock remains suspended, publishes quarterly activities report
Vast Resources (LON:VAST) – Vast secures 29% interest in the polymetallic Blueberry Project
Base metals dip on weakening China manufacturing
- Base metals have fallen further following data showing China’s manufacturing sector grew at its weakest pace in more than two years, dampening the outlook for demand.
- China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index also fell to 50.2 in October from 50.8 in September, only slightly above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction.
- The latest figures suggest a further slowing in the world’s second-biggest economy, and is expected to prompt additional policy support from Beijing on top of a raft of recent incentives.
- The previous soft patch in China's economy in 2015-2016 "triggered a period of intense capital outflows from China, as markets anticipated policymakers to step up monetary easing, opening the path to (yuan) depreciation," Mizuho Bank said in a note. "Given the sharp loss of growth momentum now, China could face a similar conundrum as in 2015-2016, although the magnitude of capital outflows has been far smaller in recent months," it said.
- The most-traded December zinc on Shanghai Futures Exchange tumbled -1.7% while copper tracked losses with -1.3% fall.
Question: if US and European companies are complaining about the cost of tariffs and commodities how much worse will it be for companies operating in weaker currency markets?
- It is interesting to read recent comments made by US and European manufacturers which have been hit by the raising of tariffs on steel and aluminium in the US and complaining about the cost of commidities.
- Fortunately, for many manufacturers the decline of local labour costs in weaker currency environments should offset much of the effective increase in local raw material costs, though the rise in oil and other energy prices this year may still have a significant negative effect.
- Manufacturing growth continues in China helped by further falls in the Renminbi ‘the Peoples Currency’, with careful management of credit liquidity in markets by the authorities.
- The Renminbi has lost some 6.5% this year, losing some 1.5% so far in October despite Trump comments that there may be a trade deal with China.
MIT test battery tech for use in short haul flights
- Scientists from MIT have released details of their research into a new battery technology that could be used in short-haul flights.
- By physically restructuring a battery so that the flow of electricity is more direct from one electrode to the other, the researchers believe that the new battery will discharge rapidly and powerfully enough to lift a 12-seat plane off the ground and keep it off long enough for some short-range flights
- While small, the flights would reportedly be commercially viable.
EasyJet see ‘electric flight becoming a reality’
- Partnership with electric plane start-up Wright Electric is driving realistic electric flight ambitions, with Easyjet CEO Johan Lundgren saying “electric flight is becoming a reality and we can now foresee a future that is not exclusively dependent on jet fuel”.
- Electric propulsion is slowly impacting almost every segment of transportation, with the company targeting testing of a nine-seater electric plan as soon as next year. Easyjet wants to electrify its short trip routes with scaling efforts taking the first steps.
- While they are starting with a small plane, Wright is trying the ambitious goal of building a battery-powered 150-seat plane to compete with 737-size aircrafts in the market for short-haul trips (under 300 miles).
- Considering flights under 300 miles consist of 30% of flights and that Boeing and Airbus sold close to 1,000 of those regional airplanes for about $90 million each last year, signifying a major market. Even if the starting price is higher, the cost of fuel is such a significant portion of the operating cost for airlines that the return on investment could be quick if the batteries are recharged with cheap electricity.
- Electrifying flight also presents a significant opportunity to reduce an important source of pollution.
Mining giants agree plan for emissions-free vehicles by 2040
- Members of the 27-company International Council on Mining and Metals plan to make mining vehicles at above ground operations greenhouse gas emission-free by 2040, in a statement from the organisation. The group, which includes BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group, will also seek to minimize the impacts on underground mining ops. from emissions of diesel particulate matter by 2025.
- ICMM’s Innovation for Cleaner Safer Vehicles program also includes mining equipment suppliers including Caterpillar Inc., Komatsu Ltd., and Sanvik AB.
- ICMM’s plan will “help BHP reduce the environmental impact of our operations, and meet our long-term goal of having net-zero operational emissions by 2050”, Giles Hellyer, vice-president of the co.’s potash unit says. BHP has taken steps including using exhaust particulate filters on older tier engines, introducing low-sulphur engines and the introduction of EVs; co. intends to expand the number of EVs at ops.: Hellyer
- The initiative also focuses on developing collision avoidance technology by 2025, with mobile equipment among major causes of fatalities in the mining sector.
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FTSE 350 Mining
AIM Basic Resources
China – Business activity is seen slowing in October amid a standoff with its largest trading partner.
- Official measure of manufacturing PMI missed estimates falling to the lowest since H2/17 with exports sub-index dropping to the lowest reading since early 2016.
- In fact, the deceleration was relatively broad based in both domestic and external related activities.
- In an effort to prop the economy and the sentiment, the government announced a series of measures this month including tax cuts, regulatory relief and investment incentives.
- Despite weaker economic data, local equities are having a good run recovering from previous losses as risk appetite returns to the market.
- CSI 300 Index is up 1.4% with MSCI Asia Pacific Index up 0.6% while safe haven assets such as the yen and gold are trading lower thins morning.
- Official Manufacturing PMI: 50.2 v 50.8 in September and 50.6 forecast.
- Official Services PMI: 53.9 v 54.9 in September and 54.6 forecast.
- Official Composite PMI: 53.1 v 54.1 in September.
Japan – The BoJ kept rates unchanged at -0.1% and reiterating the strategy to support long term bond yields at “around zero per cent”.
- In the wake of stubbornly weak inflation, the central bank cut its consumer prices growth outlook to 0.9% for this financial year (down from 1.1%) and to 1.4% for the next year (down from 1.5%).
- The BoJ noted US macroeconomic policies and protectionist moves as a risk to economic activity as well as the need to pay “close attention to future developments” in the financial system.
Germany – Retail sales came in lower than expected in September adding to a series of weakening economic data.
- Retail Sales (%mom/yoy): 0.1/-2.6 v -0.3/+1.5 in August and 0.5/1.0 forecast.
UK – Business sentiment at its lowest for this year with confidence seen sliding in almost all parts of the country amid concerns over the current government to deliver good Brexit deal, Lloyds Bank survey published on Wednesday showed.
- Consumer confidence also pulled back in October, according to a separate report by GfK.
- The pound is little changed this morning trading around 1.2735, not far off the weakest level of 1.2700 recorded earlier this year in April.
Italy – The administration insisted the budget should include increased spending plans amid the latest GDP report showing no growth in Q3.
- The Italian government has two weeks to send the EU an updated budget proposal after the EC blocked the budget that would see a deficit climbing to 2.4% next year given rather optimistic economic growth forecasts.
- Italy confirmed it will reply to the EC by the November 13.
- The spread between 10y Italian and German narrowed 8bp but continued to hover around 303bp; this compares to 117bp for its Southern neighbour, Spain.
US$1.1345/eur vs 1.1370/eur yesterday Yen 113.11/$ vs 112.84/$ SAr 14.680/$ vs 14.624/$ $1.273/gbp vs $1.278/gbp 0.708/aud vs 0.710/aud CNY 6.974/$ vs 6.961/$
Gold US$1,230/oz vs US$1,230/oz yesterday
Gold ETFs 68.3moz vs US$68.3moz yesterday
Platinum US$838/oz vs US$838/oz yesterday
Palladium US$1,112/oz vs US$1,112/oz yesterday
Silver US$14.33/oz vs US$14.44/oz yesterday
Copper US$ 6,024/t vs US$6,134/t yesterday
- Weakness in copper prices is expected to be limited to the near-term and highlight short sightedness over concerns of global trade and softer economic growth. Major producer Antofagasta see the copper market balanced in 2018 and moving into deficit next year, drawing prices to rise “much closer” to $3/lb.
- Growth in copper demand in China is expected to be above 5% for this year, boosted by stimulus measures and a recent pick up in electric grid development.
- The company have acknowledged it is “vigilant and open to opportunities” for deals, but doesn’t see an active M&A market in copper as good assets are not being traded. However, Goldman Sachs Inc. “sees a rising tide of M&A” as copper deficit emerges in the early 2020s.
Aluminium US$ 1,965/t vs US$1,983/t yesterday
Nickel US$ 11,700/t vs US$11,750/t yesterday
Zinc US$ 2,558/t vs US$2,597/t yesterday
Lead US$ 1,933/t vs US$1,956/t yesterday
Tin US$ 19,065/t vs US$19,100/t yesterday
Oil US$76.8/bbl vs US$77.1/bbl yesterday - Oil Set for Biggest Monthly Decline Since 2016 on Growth Fears
- Oil is on track for its worst month since 2016 with futures in New York poised for a 9.4% drop this month.
- West Texas Intermediate for December delivery traded at $66.35 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 17 cents, at 1:45 p.m. in Seoul.
- The contract had declined more than 2% in the past two sessions and total volume traded was about 22% below the 100-day average.
Natural Gas US$3.222/mmbtu vs US$3.183/mmbtu yesterday - Crystals that clean natural gas
- A metal organic framework developed at KAUST could make the process of removing hydrogen sulphide and carbon dioxide impurities from natural gas simpler and more effective.
The research was performed by a group led by Professor Mohamed Eddaoudi
in the KAUST Advanced Membranes & Porous Materials Center, and there is currently another project underway investigating the possibility of scaling up the procedure in preparation for commercial exploitation.
- "The challenge we met in this work was to develop a fluorine-containing MOF with pores that allow equally selective adsorption of H2S and CO2 from the natural gas stream," says one of the team’s researchers.
Uranium US$28.00/lb vs US$27.95/lb yesterday
Iron ore 62% Fe spot (cfr Tianjin) US$74.0/t vs US$74.6/t
- Iron ore futures in Dalian retreated from their best close in almost eight months as data highlighted weaker-than-expected factory activity in China underlined growing headwinds for the second-biggest economy. The manufacturing purchasing managers index posted the lowest reading in more than two years at 50.2 for October, with a gauge of new export orders falling further into contraction.
- Wednesday’s retreat pared a strong month for iron ore. All grades have climbed, with the biggest gains posted by lower-quality material in a reversal of recent trends. Top-grade ore with 65% content added 2% to $98.15/t in October, trading at the highest in more than a year, while benchmark 62% commodity is at $77.10/t after a 12% rise, according to Mysteel.com. Low-grade soared 17% to $67.30/t.
- While broad sentiment appeared to falter, a separate PMI index for the steel sector rose to 52.1, with measures for output, new orders and exports all climbing, as miners talk up the prospect of stimulus measures that will boost demand. Rebar has advanced in October, aiding mills’ profitability. Spot prices for the key product are up for a seventh month, rising 3.8%.
- “We’re actually seeing very strong demand for iron ore and that’s on the back of this very strong steel production in China”, according to Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. CEO, Elizabeth Gaines. “We’re feeling very buoyant”.
- Iron ore’s rally has been powered by robust demand from China, benefiting miners including Rio Tinto Group, BHP Billiton Ltd., Vale SA, as well as Fortescue. Mills in the world’s largest steel producer have ramped up output to unprecedented rates, with Beijing seeking to cushion the blow from the U.S. trade war by adding infrastructure spending. China’s stimulus efforts aimed at preventing the economy from slowing further and minimizing the impact of U.S. tariffs are supporting raw materials demand, Rio Tinto said this week.
- Even as the trade conflict with the U.S. has worsened, China policy makers have kept up with a clampdown on some industrial production to clean up the environment, aiding steel prices and mills’ profitability. “It’ll be more nuanced rather than across-the-board,” said Gaines. “The environmental restrictions during the winter are going to be more targeted. So those steel mills that have made investment in improving their environmental performance will be less impacted by the cuts during the winter period than others, who may not have invested as much.”
Chinese steel rebar 25mm US$699.3/t vs US$700.4/t
Thermal coal (1st year forward cif ARA) US$96.0/t vs US$95.7/t
Coking coal futures Dalian Exchange US$205.6/t vs US$206.2/t
Cobalt LME 3m US$59,250/t vs US$59,250/t
- The world’s largest cobalt producer and Africa’s largest copper miner, the Democratic Republic of Congo, is investigating establishing a cobalt smelter in neighbouring Tanzania, according to Tanzanian Mines Minister Angellah Kairuki.
- Congolese Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu met Kairuki last week in Tanzania to discuss a joint strategy that ensures both countries benefit from their mining industries, the Nairobi-based ‘East African’ said. “We are negotiating with the DRC to process cobalt and other minerals in Tanzania as an option to reduce transport costs of raw minerals to markets overseas,” the newspaper quoted Kairuki as saying.
China NdPr Rare Earth Oxide US$45,170/t vs US$45,537/t
China Lithium carbonate 99% US$9,894/t vs US$9,912/t
Tungsten APT European US$275-295/mtu vs US$275-295/mtu
Laser technique for more efficient clean fuels
- Electrocatalysts have shown promise as a potential way to achieve an efficiency 'step-change' in CO2 reduction.
- New research from the University of Liverpool’s Department of Chemistry demonstrates a laser-based spectroscopy technique that can be used to study the electrochemical reduction of CO2 in-situ and provide much-needed insights into these complex chemical pathways.
- The researchers used a Vibrational Sum-Frequency Generation spectroscopy technique coupled with electrochemical experiments to explore the chemistry of a particular catalyst called Mn(bpy)(CO)3Br.
- The researchers were able to observe key intermediates that are only present at an electrode surface for a very short time -- something that has not been achieved in previous experimental studies.
Waymo driverless car launch
- Waymo became the first company to receive a permit from the state of California to test driverless vehicles without a backup driver in the front seat, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles said yesterday.
- California said Waymo can use about three dozen test vehicles without drivers behind the wheel in Santa Clara County
- As part of winning approval, Waymo must continuously monitor the status of test vehicles and provide two-way communication with passengers, carry at least $5m in insurance and notify local communities.
- Waymo’s permit includes day and night testing on city streets, rural roads and highways with posted speed limits of up to 65mph.
Ford and Baidu test driverless cars in China
- Ford Motor Co and Baidu Inc launched a two-year project on Wednesday to test self-driving vehicles on Chinese roads.
- The project will start testing on designated roads in Beijing by the end of this year, and possibly other Chinese cities, the two companies said in a statement.
- By the end of the test period, the project will reach level 4 technology for autonomous vehicles (autonomous driving but not in all conditions).
Cradle Arc* (LON:CRA) 1.025p, mkt cap £2.8m – Placing
- Cradle Arc reports that it has raised ££396,000 by way of a conditional placing of 44m shares at 0.9p/share to new and existing shareholders.
- The proceeds, in conjunction with the recently announced US$2m loan from its major shareholder, will facilitate “the rehabilitation and improvement of the current processing facilities at the Mowana Copper Mine and thereby address the intermittent breakdowns and interruptions that were the key reason for the Company’s inability to meet its production targets during Q3 2018.”
Conclusion: The support of new and existing shareholders, alongside the loans provided by its major shareholder, Penmin, Botswana, provides the financial resources to address the operational and inventory issues which have hampered the restart of the Mowana copper mine
*SP Angel acts as Joint Broker to Cradle Arc PLC
Crusader (LON:CAS) – Stock remains suspended, publishes quarterly activities report
- Crusader Resources has published a quarterly activities report today.
- The report highlights the ongoing work at its Borborema gold project in northern Brazil.
- The team are working on the submission of an installation license for the for the project. Receipt of this license should allow the company to then move to apply for an Operating License.
- In Brazil conventional environmental licensing is normally done in three parts starting with a Preliminary License, followed by an Installation License and then an Operating License.
- Borborema is estimated to have a Proven and Probable Ore Reserves host some 1.61moz of gold in 42.4mt of ore grading 1.18 g/t (0.4 & 0.5 g/t cut-offs for oxide & fresh ores).
- There is also measured, indicated and inferred Mineral Resource estimate of 2.43Moz @ 1.10 g/t gold.
- The Borborema project has an estimated initial capex of US$93m and a post-tax NPV of US$118m assuming a gold price of US$1,300/oz and a discount rate of 8%.
- While gold prices have risen to US$1,230/oz investors might have to wait a little longer for the US$1,300/oz that might enable the full financing of the Borborema project.
- Ausenco is helping with the documentation and is going to focus on the design of the metallurgical plant to start. A simple crush-grind-cyanidation processing circuit is said to give gold recoveries of >90%.
- The company also reports a favourable ruling in the Brazil courts relating to the payments due for the sale of the Posse iron ore mine where the buyer is obliged to pay some R$8m (US$2.5m) in a series of staged payments. The first R$1m has been received with the rest due in 15 equal monthly payments.
- The funds will help Crusader dig itself out of its financial hole and combined with a further fund raising may enable the company to lift its AIM suspension.
- Juruena: management do nor report any progress on the Juruena gold project which may arguably host better grades and prospects than the Bororema project.
Conclusion: It’s always good to see a company making progress. If management are half as good at digging mines as they are at digging financial holes for themselves then they might do well.
We look forward to further clarification of the company’s financial position in time and the potential lifting of its AIM market suspension.
Europa Metals Limited (LON:EUZ) 0.11 pence, Mkt Cap £6.1m – Extension drilling at the Toral zinc, lead, silver project in Spain
- Europa Mining reports that its recently completed 4-holes programme of extension reverse-circulation drilling at the Toral project in northern Spain has extended the boundaries of known mineralisation by approximately 200m to the east and intersected mineralisation in all of the holes drilled.
- The reverse-circulation drilling reached a depth of 300m below surface and infill diamond drilling of the previously defined resource is currently underway.
Among the results reported today from the programme are:
- A 2m wide intersection from a depth of 251m in hole TOR-14 which averaged 2.39% lead, 8.66% zinc and 34.9g/t silver;
- A 1m wide intersection from a depth of 220m in hole TOR-15 which averaged 1.06% lead, 2.95% zinc and 7.4g/t silver;
- A 1m wide intersection from a depth of 278m in hole TOR-16 which averaged 1.3% lead, 0.28% zinc and 4.3g/t silver; and
- A 1m wide intersection from a depth of 249m in hole TOR-17 which averaged 0.39% lead, 1.12% zinc and 9.39g/t silver.
- Commenting on the drilling campaign, Myles Campion, Technical Director of Europa Metals said “Our RC drilling programme has efficiently and effectively increased the footprint of the Toral Project by an additional 200m to the east and has further delineated the contact zone in an under drilled area. The programme has also been a very useful exercise in bedding down and refining operating procedures and systems as we proceed with our Phase II diamond drilling programme”
Conclusion: The recent drilling has extended the known area of mineralisation at Toral and provided additional geological information to help guide future exploration. At this stage, the intersection widths appear comparatively narrow given their depth and we would expect significant additional work to be required to evaluate the potential of the eastward extension. We look forward to further news from the current diamond-drilling programme.
Gem Diamonds (LON:GEMD) 109p, Mkt Cap £151m –Letseng increases diamond production 27% during quarter
- Gem Diamonds reports that its Letseng mine produced 35,755 carats of diamonds during the quarter ending 30th September representing a 27% increase on the 28,070 carats produced during the preceding quarter ending 30th June.
- Grades remained broadly consistent with the previous quarter at 1.98 cpht, compared to 1.95 cpht and the increased diamond production reflects a 26% rise in the tonnes of ore treated to 1.8mt during the quarter following “the successful replacement of the scrubber shell and other significant maintenance during the major shutdown in Plant 2 during Q2 2018”.
- As a result of the improved operating performance, Gem Diamonds has revised its full year production guidance for its 2018 financial year upwards. Diamond production has increased from the previously indicated 114-118,000 carats to the range 120-124,000 carats.
- Guidance for both capital and operating costs remain unchanged, however, reflecting the increased production expectation, sales guidance for the year has been increased to 118-122,000 carats from the previously indicated range of 112-116,000 carats
- Sales during the quarter increased by 3% compared to the previous quarter to 30,275 carats brining the year to date total to 91,971 carats. Revenue from diamond sales during the quarter of US$55.7m brings the ytd revenue to US$224.9m.
- Average prices during the quarter declined by 14% to US$1,841/carat although sales included eight individual diamonds sold for in excess of US$1m each. The sale of an individual 138.2 carat Type IIa white diamond realised an average of US$60,428/carat or approximately US$8.35m
- The company also discloses that, since the end of the quarter it has recovered a 375 carat diamond which is the thirteenth stone larger than 100 carats in size recovered this year.
Conclusion: The Letseng mine continues to deliver large, high value diamonds while improving operational throughput has led the company to increase its annual production and sales guidance by approximately 5%.
Medusa Mining (ASX:MML) A$0.33, Mkt Cap A$67.5m – E15 Service shaft commissioning
- E15 Service shaft construction and installation of all hardware has been completed.
- The final commissioning of the shaft is continuing.
- The service shaft expands the skipping capacity of operations allowing for the existing L8 shaft to accelerate development and production works on the lower mine levels moving forwards.
Sunrise Resources Plc (LON:SRES) 0.17 pence, Mkt Cap £4.1m – Additional perlite discoveries in Nevada
- Following yesterday’s announcement on test results for perlite and pozzolan bulk samples from its CS project, Sunrise Resources reports the discovery of additional perlite mineralisation located approximately 85km from the CS project area.
- The company has staked a further 40 claims in what is termed the NewPerl Project area, increasing the overall project claim area by “over 250%” and submitted samples for testing to determine the material’s suitability for use as horticultural grade perlite.
- Commenting on the discoveries, Executive Chairman, Patrick Cheetham, characterised the identification of NewPerl as “proof of concept of the targeting method that originally led us to the discovery of the perlite and pozzolan deposits at our CS Project and which we now know can be successfully applied elsewhere. We have now found and claimed extensive areas of perlite at NewPerl, at multiple separate locations”
- Mr. Cheetham pointed out that with the samples still at the laboratory “It is too early to say how the NewPerl Project will fit in with the development of our CS Project - which is clearly our priority - but it adds value to and has synergy with the business we are developing.”
Conclusion: Sunrise Resources sees the discovery of additional perlite at the NewPerl project as vindication of its exploration methods. The results of laboratory tests are awaited and meanwhile development of the CS project for both perlite and pozzolan remains the priority
Tri-Star Resources* (LON:TSTR) 39p, Mkt Cap £36.7m – SPMP project update
(Tri-Star holds 40% of jv company SPMP alongside The Oman Investment Fund and Dutco Natural Resources)
(Odey Asset Management, holds a 72.06% interest in TriStar Resources)
- TriStar Resources has provided a progress report on the commissioning of its 40% owned antimony-gold process plant of SPMP in Oman.
- The plant is currently hot commissioning and “has successfully produced intermediate products, including: crude antimony trioxide (“CATO”) and impure antimony trioxide (“IATO”) which contain 97% pure antimony”.
- However “the end of October first antimony date will not be met” although Tri-Star Resources’ management “are working closely with the SPMP management team to gauge the timing of the first metal”.
- Commenting on the announcement, Steven Din, CEO of SPMP pointed out that “Hot commissioning is a systematic process and we are taking it one step at a time. As we resolve each of the challenges we encounter, we edge closer toward producing first metal and commercial production of antimony and gold.”
- Mr. Din went on to express confidence in “the robust design of what is a unique process plant operating within the highest environmental standards.”
- The company has also secured further supplies of feedstock as a result of meetings during the recent LME week.
*SP Angel acts as Nomad to Tri-Star Resources
Vast Resources (LON:VAST) 0.55p, Mkt Cap £31.1m – Vast secures 29% interest in the polymetallic Blueberry Project
- The Company secured in excess of $1m funding for EMA Resources allowing it to retian the 29.4% interest in the polymetallic brownfield Blueberry Project in Romania.
- Funds have been committed from an institutional investor as well as a number of individuals.
- “I am delighted to receive confirmation of the support for the Blueberry Project from an institutional investor and that Vast’s interest in the Blueberry Project is now confirmed,” Andrew Prelea CEO commented on the announcement.